Sunday, September 27, 2015

Youth Lesson - What blessings does Heavenly Father promise if I obey the commandments?

Have you learned anything in your studies this week that you would like to share?

Any questions on anything we have taught you this year?  Any gospel questions you have had on your mind?

Elder Scott passed away this week.  How do you feel about that?  Do you have any memories of Elder Scott?

What blessings does Heavenly Father promise if I obey the commandments?  Do any of you have thoughts on that?

Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Demonstrate to the youth how to identify promised blessings by reading with the class the “Message to the Youth from the First Presidency” in For the Strength of Youth (pages ii–iii). Invite the youth to raise their hands every time they hear a promised blessing.

"Our dear young men and young women, we have great confidence in you. You are beloved sons and daughters of God and He is mindful of you. You have come to earth at a time of great opportunities and also of great challenges. The standards in this booklet will help you with the important choices you are making now and will yet make in the future. We promise that as you keep the covenants you have made and these standards, you will be blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost, your faith and testimony will grow stronger, and you will enjoy increasing happiness.
"In all that you do, stay focused on the temple. In the temple you will receive the greatest of all the Lord’s blessings, including marriage for time and all eternity. Keeping the standards in this booklet will help you be worthy to attend the temple, where you can perform sacred ordinances for your ancestors now and make essential covenants for yourself in the future.
Our Father in Heaven has placed great trust in you. He has a work for you to do. Seek His guidance in prayer, and counsel with your parents and leaders. The decisions you make now will set the course for much of what will follow during your mortal life and throughout eternity.
We testify that God lives. It is our fervent prayer that you will remain steadfast and valiant throughout your lives and that you will trust in the Savior and His promises. As you do this, you will be an influence for good in helping to build the kingdom of God and prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Savior."

Those were some of the promised blessings for keeping the commandments. Now how would you teach someone about the commandments and why they are important? We talked before about helping people understand our standards. Let's read from Preach My Gospel to see some ways we can teach others the importance of the commandments and our standards.

Preach My Gospel, chapter 11, section Promise People Blessings
“People need a reason to change their thoughts and actions. Promised blessings often provide powerful motivation to obey God. When the Lord gives a commandment, He often promises blessings for keeping that commandment (see D&C 130:20–21). As you prepare people to obey a specific commandment, teach them that:
  • Living the commandments shows love for God and His Son.
  • They demonstrate their trust in God as they obey His commandments.
  • In return, they will receive blessings that He has promised.

“As you testify of a commandment, talk about the blessings you have received from living that commandment. Promise those whom you teach that they can enjoy similar blessings.
“As people strive to keep a commitment, ask them to talk about the blessings that Heavenly Father has given them. Assure them that even though difficulties will enter their lives, His blessings will continue as they obey His will.”
Let's have someone choose a commandment or standard and try to teach it to someone else using the ideas from Preach My Gospel.  What is a commandment or a standard that you have had to explain to someone or that you would like to have explained to someone in your life?  Who would like to try to explain it.  Have one person do the explaining and the other person ask questions and then switch.

Have you had any experiences you would feel comfortable sharing that have helped you understand the importance of obeying the commandments.

Let’s read some of the blessings the scriptures list for being obedient to specific commandments:

Isaiah 58:6–11 (The blessings promised for obeying the law of the fast)
Jeremiah 7:23–24; D&C 1:14–15; 58:29–33 (Consequences of disobedience)
Malachi 3:10–12 (The blessings promised for paying tithing)
D&C 14:7; 82:10; 130:20–21 (Blessings of obedience)
D&C 20:77, 79 (The sacrament prayers)
D&C 59:9–20 (The blessings promised for keeping the Sabbath day holy)
D&C 89:18–21 (The blessings promised for obeying the Word of Wisdom)
Elder L Tom Perry, Obedience through Our Faithfulness
"If a member of the team [of horses] ever believes that it does not need to obey the will of the driver, the team will never pull and work together to maximize their ability."

Do you know what unity means? When Jesus says that he and the father are one, that means they are unified. When he prayed that we may be one, he wanted us to be unified.
It is very hard to find unity when everyone has their own agenda.  How do we have compassion when someone is being selfish?  How do we not burr up against someone acting that way to avoid being selfish ourselves?  We have things we need to protect like our families, our time, our resources when people are selfish, but how do we keep from taking that to the point of our own selfishness.

If we all burr up defending our territory, we won't be pulling together and nothing gets accomplished.

How do we encourage someone to stop being counter productive?

Elder Perry continues:
“An obedient horse which is part of a well-trained team of horses needs little more than a gentle tug from the driver to do exactly what he wants it to do. This gentle tug is equivalent to the still, small voice with which the Lord speaks to us. Out of respect for our agency, it is never a strong, forceful tug."

"If we heed the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost, it can unite our spirits and bodies in a purpose that will guide us back to our eternal home to live with our eternal Father in Heaven."

“ I recommend it to you and even challenge you to experiment upon my words, and if you do, I promise that they will lead you to clarity of choice when you are bombarded with choices and that they will lead to simple answers to questions that confuse the learned and those who think they are wise.”

“Those who rely solely on themselves and follow only their own desires and self-inclinations are so limited when compared to those who follow God and tap into His insight, power, and gifts.”
"I promise that they will lead you to clarity of choice when you are bombarded with choices and that they will lead to simple answers to questions that confuse the learned and those who think they are wise."
How does it affect the unity of our class of one of us was misbehaving? It would be harder for the rest of us to get something out of the lesson, wouldn't it?  It might make it hard for us to be a strong class.
Elder Robert D Hales, “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments”
“In the premortal Council in Heaven, Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan. Those who followed Lucifer ended their eternal progression—be careful who you follow!”

“When we obey, we accept His sacrifice...”

My Thoughts
There are many who teach that all you have to do is accept Jesus to be Saved.  What does it mean to accept Jesus?  Some would say that you accept him through a pray.  Some would say you accept him publicly in front of a congregation.

How do we accept someone as our Lord if we do not follow his instructions?

“At times members may participate in “selective obedience,” claiming to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings—and the teachings and counsel of His prophets—they will fully follow.
“Some obey selectively because they cannot perceive all the reasons for a commandment, just as children do not always understand the reasons for their parents’ counsel and rules.”
A blessing of obedience is that we are saved because we accept Christ and his teachings and guidance.

I challenge you to think about these questions :
What if Jesus had not been obedient? How world that have impacted others? If we are not obedient to God how does that affect those around us? Our parents, our siblings, or friends, those we try to share the gospel with, those that look to us for strength or a good example?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Youth Lesson - How can I help others understand my standards?

Is there anything from your personal study that you would like to share?

Today we are going to talk about, How can I help others understand my standards?

What questions have others asked you about your standards?
How have you helped them understand why you live according to those standards?

What situations do the people face in which they must explain their standards to others?
Why might this sometimes be difficult for them?
What can you do to help prepare for these situations?

The manual says:
"Others will often ask us about our standards. We can be prepared to answer their questions and testify of the blessings that come from obeying God’s commandments. In this way we can be a light unto the world."

How many of you get the New Era at home?
How many of you read it?
Did you know you can read it on your devices?  Phones, tablets, home computers.  There is some good stuff in the New Era that you might like.

Let’s read an article together from the August 2015 New Era called, "Just Be You".  It is about sharing the gospel, but can also applied to sharing our standards with people.

Let’s read and talk about some scriptures that might help us tell people about our standards?

Be Not Ashamed
Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2 Timothy 1:7-8
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

2 Nephi 8:7
7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

What are these scriptures talking about?

One of the first things we need to do if we are going to be able to explain our standards to others is to not be ashamed of our standards.  We should not be embarrassed by our standards.

Just like being a boy or a girl.  It is who we are.  We do not have to be embarrassed that we are a boy or a girl or things that others might not understand about being a boy or a girl.  We just have to honor Heavenly Father in the way that we behave as a boy or a girl.

The same is true for our standards.  We should be determined that our standards do not change because someone doesn’t understand them or doesn’t agree with them.

We also don’t fight with people about our standards.  If we are to fight with people about being a boy or a girl that does not bring understanding to the other person it just brings bad feelings about boys and girls.

The same is true for our standards.  We don’t argue with people about our standards.  If they want to know who we are and why we are like we are, then we can calmly explain it to them.  If they just want to fight, then we can be pleasant and move on to something else and let our behavior be a witness of our standards.  If we behave well, even when people are mean to us, it is a witness to others about our standards.

Let’s look at some scriptures that talk about these this.

1 Timothy 4:12
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Someone break this scripture down for me and explain the things it is trying to teach us.

3 Nephi 11:29
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

If we are angry with people and contentious, then the holy ghost leaves and we are left with the devil to teach with.

When we have trouble knowing what to say, here are some scriptures that talk about that.

Doctrine and Covenants 11:21
21 Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-8
5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.

8 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.